Everyone is familiar with the lighted holiday garlands that are ubiquitous on mantles around Christmas time. They imbue the room with a warm, cosy glow and make the whole house feel elegant and festive. Taking down the lights is, for many people, one of the saddest things about the end of the Christmas season. You do not have to lose the things you love about Christmas indoor lighting just because the holidays are over. You can decorate your fireplace in a tasteful, discreet fashion using strings of coloured or white mini lights and enjoy the warm glow all year round.
Clean the glass vases thoroughly inside and out. Make sure that there are no smears on the glass and that if the vases are faceted, that the facets have no grime, dirt or dust stuck in them. Dampen a paper towel with the glass cleaner, then wipe all off the vases thoroughly with the paper towel. Get a new towel when the first gets grimy and dry the glass with a clean towel when you are done.
Place the end of the mini light string that does not have a plug in the bottom of a vase. If you like, coil it once around the edge of the inside of the vase.
Layer in about an inch of the clear glass marbles. The end of the light string should be covered completely. Do not pour or drop the marbles in, as you will break the lights and possibly the vase. Place handfuls into the containers gently.
Continue to layer in the marbles and the lights. The lights can be coiled in layers or placed more randomly among the marbles. Every few inches, alternate the clear marbles with the coloured marbles to create stripes of colour in the vase. The brighter the colours that you use, the clearer these stripes will be. However, even light warm or neutral tones like peach or gold will show distinctly when you turn on the lights. Keep going until you have filled all the vases with lights and marbles. Only the bare ends of the light strings with the plugs will be hanging out.
Position the vases in the fireplace. Hide the power cord behind the vases so that you can plug them all in and avoid having a nest of cords snaking out of your fireplace. When you plug the power cord in, your fireplace will shine with a subtle, warm glow.
Use bright colours to make the vases more obvious, and lighter colours to make them more discreet. Some people even use decorative pebbles instead of glass to make the glow even more muted.